.:2011 Rihani Scholarship Recipients
Each year, the Rihani Scholarship Selection Committee is charged with the task to select the scholarship recipient for the year. As in the past, we continue to receive several highly qualified applicants competing for this year's award. Their character, academic performance, talents, and contributions to society are exemplary which made the task for the committee that much harder. This year, the Scholarship Selection Committee had a long deliberation resulting in the announcement of the winner of the $1,500 Ameen Rihani Scholarship for 2011 - Simone Gannage, a Lebanese-American from Los Altos Hills in California. It is worth noting that both runner-ups were equally qualified and deserve to be recognized accordingly. However, given the current rules of the Scholarship Program, only one individual could be chosen as the winner of the Rihani Scholarship.
Simone Gannage was born in Palo Alto, California to her two Lebanese parents who emigrated to the United States from Lebanon. She has enjoyed a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.97/4.00, and has also earned straight As in 61 out of the 62 classes that she has taken throughout her years of high school. She was awarded the AP Scholar with distinction, received the Class Salutatorian recognition for being the second highest ranked student in her graduating class, and received the Harvard Book Prize in recognition of her academic excellence. Simone is a dedicated and an exceptional student by anyone's standard. She has also enjoyed a wealth of extra-curricular activities and contributions. Some of these include leading a project to collect and donate 5,000 French books to supply an orphanage library in Grand Goave, Haiti, serving as a counselor in a summer camp for underprivileged children in Lebanon, volunteering to help restore the wetlands and marshes in Marin County so that birds can come back to their homes that were previously destroyed, playing piano, and figure skating. Her school counselor says, "Simone is an inspiring and engaged learner. She has a genuine interest and caring for people, and is a deeply reflective person". One of her teachers adds, "Simone is a unique and outstanding someone! She has a humble and gracious manner that invites others to freely express their opinions". Simone believes that if every person were fluent in more than one language, people around the world will feel more valued. Incidentally, Simone is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, and plans to learn Farsi and Russian as well.
Simone has been accepted at Georgetown University and will be enrolled there in the Fall of 2011. She is interested in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and plans to pursue a career in this field. Her ambitions include becoming a lawyer, then Advisor to the Secretary of State. She yearns to create change for the better in Lebanon and the Middle East.
The Ameen Rihani Scholarship Committee extends its warm congratulations to Simone!
Each year the Ameen Rihani Organization receives scholarship applications from a number of highly talented students who will be entering their first year of university studies. Since the Rihani scholarship can only be offered to one student each year, the Scholarship Selection Committee decided that, beginning with 2006, runner-ups will also be recognized. These individuals have enjoyed similar exemplary characteristics and achievements as those of the selected scholarship winner.
The runners-up for the 2011 Ameen Rihani Scholarship are:
Firas Nasr, Lebanese-American from Virginia, entering Middlebury College in Vermont
Congratulations to Simone, Firas, and Petra!
Petra Bachour, Syrian-American from Missouri, entering the University of Minnesota